CASTOR has been designed and developed in a decade-long partnership between academia, industry and government agencies. CASTOR's leadership and science team are described below. Both are evolving as the mission transitions through a Phase 0 study and prepares for launch in the late 2020s.
To see a list of CASTOR's investigators involved in previous phases of the mission, please click here. For questions related to Outreach and Communications, see Nathalie Ouellette (Université de Montréal).
Executive Team and Points of Contact
CASTOR's principal points of contact at NRC-HAA, CSA and industrial partners (ABB, Honeywell, and Magellan) are as follows:
Canadian Space Agency
Alain Cournoyer (ABB)
Alan Scot (Honeywell)
Paul Harrison (Magellan)
Principal Investigator and Science Lead
Science Co-Lead, and Science Planning Tools Lead
Manager, Planetary Exploration and Astronomy Missions
Senior program scientist
STDP Study Project Scientist
Phase 0 Study Technical Lead
Satellite Control Systems Engineer
CASTOR contracts are managed by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), which also contributies programmatic, technical and scientific expertise to the development of the mission.
Past engineering and technical work for CASTOR has been carried out by an industrial team led by Honeywell Aerospace, which has been responsible for the high-level mission architecture and implementation plan. Honeywell has extensive experience in mission analysis, design and implementation, having most recently designed, built and tested the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) and NIRISS instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership between NASA, CSA and ESA.
Magellan Aerospace has led efforts focused on the satellite bus, launch options, and altitude determination and control subsystems. Magellan has a rich and distinguished history in the design and manufacture of aerospace systems and components. Most recently, Magellan was responsible for the satellite bus of the Radarsat Constellation Mission that was launched in 2019 — a major component of Canada's space plan.
ABB Aerospace has led development of the optical chain and ground support network. ABB specializes in custom optical instrumentation for space, military and research applications, and recently delivered the SITELLE — the world's premier hyperspectral imager for astronomical applications — to the Canada France Hawaii Telescope.
The National Research Council's Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre provides supplementary expertise in detectors and opto-mechanics. NRC-Herzberg is responsible for operation and instrument design for Canada's astronomical observatories, and has a long and distinguished history in the design and fabrication of instruments for JCMT, CFHT, ALMA, Gemini and other leading facilities.
Additional work on detectors and electronics is being provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is also contributing scientific, programmatic and operational expertise. JPL is arguably the world's foremost research facility for robotic space and Earth science missions.
Science Team and Science Working Groups
The CASTOR Science Team is responsible for high-level science planning and optimization, including overall mission science requirements. The team is organized in eight Science Working Groups (SWGs) addressing topics ranging from the Solar System to Cosmology . The Canadian leads of each SWG are aided by three co-leads, one from each of CASTOR's prospective international partners (India, the UK, and JPL/IPAC), and by contributors that include preeminent experts in each field. The lead and co-leads of each SWG are listed below.
Katie Mack (Perimeter Institute)
Hum Chand (CUHP)
Jason Rhodes (JPL)
Catherine Heymans (Edinburgh)
Time Domain Astrophysics:
Maria Drout (Toronto)
Kuntal Misra (ARIES)
Daniel Stern (JPL)
Matt Nichol (Birmingham)
Active Galactic Nuclei and Supermassive Black Holes
Sarah Gallagher (Western Ontario)
Vivek. M (IIA)
Andreas Faisst (IPAC)
Poshak Gandhi (Southampton)
Galaxies and Cosmic Star Formation
Michael Balogh (Waterloo)
Kanak Saha (IUCAA)
Anahita Alavi (IPAC)
Harry Teplitz (IPAC)
Sean McGee (Birmingham)
Vincent Henault-Brunet (St. Mary's)
Smitha Subramanian (IIA)
Pat Morris (IPAC)
Vicky Scowcroft (Bath)
Ruben Sanchez-Janssen (STFC)
Simon Blouin (Victoria)
Annapurni Subramaniam (IIA)
Pat Morris (IPAC)
Boris Gaensicke (Warwick)
Jason Rowe (Bishop's)
Thirupathi Sivarani (IIA)
Jessie Christiansen (IPAC)
Suzanne Aigrain (Oxford)
JJ Kavelaars (NRC-HAA)
Shashkiran Ganesh (PRL)
Cyrielle Opito (Edinburgh)